By 2017, Target had been a TED sponsor for over a decade, each time responding to the annual theme with a fresh new take. With that year’s edition, they wanted to rethink the potential of a tricky topic: personal data collection. Could it be used for good? They challenged us to imagine a data–driven activation that could lead to meaningful mingling at the networking conference, and potentially, long-lasting connections. We worked in partnership with David Stark Design to come up with an experience that fit the bill.
We brainstormed ways to show how data could be personalized to reflect a person's character without exposing private information, eventually landing on the idea of "Data Portraits:" compact artworks generated based on participants’ responses to a personality–based questionnaire.
We worked collaboratively to come up with items for the survey, keeping in mind that the questions would need to be thoughtful enough to yield meaningful responses, yet non–confrontational. The final survey included prompts like “When do you get your best ideas?”, “How messy is your desk?”, and “Do you follow rules or do you break them?” While highly subjective, the questions could nonetheless be answered with multiple choice options, and thus easily assessed as data.
For the design itself, we leaned on the artistry of our co–founder Giorgia Lupi. She created a taxonomy by hand that translated answers into one–of–a–kind designs composed of drawn shapes, colors, and symbols.